The story carries on where the first book left off. War is crashing into their lives and it's hard for Gavin Guile to keep saving his country and people when he's dying and his colors are disappearing. It's a game of deception and lies. Nothing is as it seems.
This was a fantastic sequel. The characters are still lovable as usual. Who doesn't like Gavin Guile? Inevitable in his will, charming, saving the world easily. But still flawed and completely in love. Kip is almost the stereotypical boy-into-a-man story. But it works.
I love the magic system. It's a world that makes you want to know more. It's fairly ingenious, this world. Only quibble is that Weeks sometimes has long paragraphs (e.g. monologues) of explanation of magic or strategies. People don't talk in paragraphs. But it didn't happen too often, just often enough for me to notice, so it's okay.
I was blown away by the deception from the book summary! It completely took me off guard when Gavin killed his brother because I was expecting the opposite. I loved it, to have lies within a summary to make me expect something and throw something else.
I think Weeks doesn't exactly know how to write women. This book is very much still a man's world. Even though the women are strong and influential, like Karris and the Third Eye, you start to notice that all of them don't really stand alone in their strength. They are all tied to a man. Okay, maybe except for the White, but that's because she's old and Weeks doesn't consider her for sex appeal. But whenever girls and women are mentioned, it's all about their femininity and how much the males would like to take them to bed. Meh. I don't think he does this intentionally and eh, the story is powerful enough to overlook this. It's just I don't think he knows how to write women who are just women. But of course, it's not something he's concerned about, what with his two main male characters. And regardless, he does better than a lot of other male writers (and some female writers, for that matter).
The story progresses extremely well. I was never bored or slogging through the pages. There was action, there was emotion, there was character interaction. The ending was made me curse the appendix. I was so sure that the boo was longer, and then it just ended with Gavin in that boat. Like, argh are you serious!! I need to know what happens next! But that's fantastic. I know I want to finish this series. Weeks is a great writer. I can already see him setting the scene for future books. I'm curious to see what will happen with paryl, the white luxin, the blinding knife, how the light will be balanced, and such. There are so many unanswered plot lines, but this book manages to tie up a lot from the last book. It's the perfect balance between revealing intentions and hidden mysteries. It's not confusing, it's foreshadowing. So many authors have a hard time with the difference between the two. Weeks nails it here.
A solid three and a half stars. I was tempted to round up to four because of how engaged I was throughout the book. However, at the end of the book, it's just a good read. I always need a little something more - something that changes my world, my preconceived notion of something, expands my horizon. It was a marvelous read, yes. But it doesn't leave me with anything else but "hmm it was a good read" when I close the book. So three and a half very good stars.
Highly recommended for anyone who loves fantasy with well-built characters and a fascinating magic system. But read the first book first, obviously.